The Attachment of Networking
Attachment seems like a topic that I should share under “The Seamless Way” Blog. It is definitely a practice of a spiritual and wellness nature. Usually, the gurus of yoga, mindfulness and the like speak about non-attachment or releasing attachment. Here in my blog about connecting, it has a subtle and powerful message in the practice of networking and building relationships.
I have participated in various types of networking groups. They all have the same vibe of scarcity, cloaked with a friendly, welcoming smile. It doesn’t matter if it is the paid networking group, the community networking group, the group created because there was something missing from the paid group or even “the get to know you one-on-one”. The frequency of “what can I get here?” is the undercurrent of most networking events. Most networkers show up with their hand out to receive and very few show up with the desire to just give. Now, in the spiritual world, “you get by giving.” In some religious groups, it is a SIN to think about taking care of your own needs before your brother’s! This is a paradox of marketing, networking and personal development and at the heart of it is this juicy word, ATTACHMENT. If I plan to go to a networking event, then there is the expectation that I am doing something to grow my business. I am expecting to develop relationships that will increase my sales, my client list, my vacation fund, my bottom line. So, what is wrong with these ideas? I am setting myself up because I have expectations of the event or outcome. Expectations go hand in hand with attachment. If I don’t get what I expect, then what happens in my thought process or marketing plan? My strategy for meeting other business owners?
So, what exactly is attachment? It can be defined as a connection to a belief, a thing, a person, a desire or a concept. This creates a challenge for the mind. Shouldn’t I hold a belief of success in myself and my business? Shouldn’t I believe that, at a networking event, others are there for the same reason, to grow their business? Shouldn’t that be easy for all of us to be successful? In the land of milk and honey, this may be true. It the current society, not so much.
For me, in these networking events, it is easier to talk about someone else than about myself. I go in with the idea of giving and helping others. I have connected a bunch of people! I have given tons of referrals that has turned into dollars for others. How has that helped me? In my heart and spirit, it has given me a wonderful pat on the back for lifting up a brother or sister. Whoop! Whoop! For my business, not so much. So, where is the burn? I EXPECT others to promote me, like I promote then. What do I get? DISAPPOINTMENT! Have you experienced this? The truth is, we are not on the same page, the same path, or have the same agenda as others. And the truth is this is 100% OK, acceptable and even NORMAL. We all have our divinely inspired purpose, whether we align with this language or not!
When attending a networking event, if I am honest with myself, I have an ATTACHMENT to the outcome. Networking equals business growth. Isn’t that true? Not always! What are 5 things I can do to improve my networking experience, free of attachment?
- Be Curious! The state of wonder opens the mind, heart and spirit to possibilities. I wonder who I will meet today? I wonder what I will learn, about myself, about others, about my town, etc? Wonder brings endless possibilities.
- Discernment. Finding out who you DON’T want to do business with is just as important as who you DO. There’s a saying, “When people show you who they are, believe them!” There is nothing more valuable than discernment. Pay attention, listen to your gut.
- What’s my practice? If you are working with a self-development skill, such as speaking about yourself or improving your listening skills, use your networking meetings to practice. Make notes after the meeting about the experience. Learn by watching others present. How are they listening? Watch body language and engagement. Are they playing with their phone? How are they sitting at the table? Are they side talking? Lots can be learned and practiced around others.
- Energy Meter! Do these types of meetings or events stimulate or drain you? Group events aren’t for everyone. The introverted person gets drained by being around too many people. The extrovert can get super charged and become overbearing. What is happening for you? How can you improve your networking strategy to conserve and use your energy wisely?
- Networking doesn’t have to be your PROFESSION! There are many people who network more than they work! What is the rate of return? What is the value for you, your business and your family? It is ok to decline a networking event. Recharge, renew, and realize the value of positive connections.
Networking can be a very useful tool to grow your business, a self-development platform, a community building arena or just a social outing. You decide how and when to network. Ask yourself about your expectations, attachments and goals for each encounter. Of course, these 5 suggestions can be applied to other areas of life as well. Try them and see! Practice, practice, practice.
Beth has a practical business sense with an economic background. She has worked in a variety of professional settings, before owning and operating her own business for more than 10 years. Contact Beth for business mentoring and coaching, speaking events and team building strategies.